Feasibility of smartphone application and social media intervention on breast cancer survivors’ health outcomes

Zachary Pope, Jung Eun Lee, Nan Zeng, Hee Yun Lee, Zan Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Breast cancer survivors are at risk for poor health, with physical activity a possible treatment. Little research has examined how technology might promote breast cancer survivor physical activity or health. The aim of this study is to investigate the feasibility of employing a commercially available mobile health application- and social media-based health education intervention to improve breast cancer survivor physical activity or health. Ten breast cancer survivors (X age = 45.80 ± 10.23 years; X weight = 79.51 ± 20.85 kg) participated in this 10-week single-group pilot study from 2015 to 2016. Participants downloaded the MapMyFitness application, documented all physical activity with MapMyFitness, and were enrolled in a Social Cognitive Theory-based, Facebook-delivered health education intervention. Objectively measured physical activity, weight or body composition, cardiovascular fitness, psychosocial constructs, and quality of life indices were measured at baseline and 10 weeks. Intervention use and acceptability was evaluated during and following the intervention. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all study outcomes, with qualitative analyses performed regarding use and acceptability. At postintervention, average daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps increased by 2.6 min and 1,657, respectively, with notable decreases in weight (2.4 kg) and body fat percentage (2.3%). Physical activity–related social support and ability to engage in social roles or activity demonstrated the greatest improvements among all psychosocial and quality of life indices, respectively. Participants enjoyed the feedback and tracking features of MapMyFitness, with most finding the Facebook component helpful. All participants recommended the intervention for future use. Physical activity interventions combining commercially available mobile health applications and theoretically based social media–delivered health interventions may promote certain physiological, psychosocial, and quality of life outcomes among breast cancer survivors. Larger samples and randomized studies are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was funded by the University of Minnesota’s Multicultural Research Award.

Publisher Copyright:
© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2018. All rights reserved.


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Physical activity
  • Physical functioning
  • Technology-based intervention


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